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U.S. U-19 Women Dominate South Korea 3-0 in Opening Match of FIFA World Championship

PHUKET, Thailand (November 11, 2004) - The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team put together a dominating performance in its opening match of the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship 2004 as Angie Woznuk and Amy Rodriguez scored in the first half just two minutes apart and Sheree Gray added a clinching goal in the 72nd minute on the way to a 3-0 victory over a talented South Korean team on a hot, steamy night in front of almost 10,000 fans at a festive Sarakul Stadium.

After a few shaky minutes to start the game in which the U.S. team looked nervous, as eight of the 11 starters were getting their first taste of world championship action, the Americans settled down and repeatedly got behind the Korean back four.

After surviving an early header off a corner kick from Korea's mammoth center-back Sun Eun Park, which was cleared off the line by Gray, the Americans settled down and took the game to the Asian champions.

The match featured a command performance by Woznuk, the USA's attacking midfielder, who sliced apart the Koreans seemingly at will, as well as a stellar defensive effort led by U.S. center-backs Becky Sauerbrunn and Rachel Buehler, who did a fantastic job marking Park on set plays.

The first U.S. goal was created in the 14th minute as Sheree Gray slipped a perfect pass to the cutting Megan Rapinoe on the right side of the penalty box.  Rapinoe, faced with two closing defenders, cut back sharply to the inside and was chopped down.  Greek referee Antonia Kokotou did not hesitate, pointing to the penalty spot. Woznuk stepped up to take the kick and coolly slotted her shot into the left corner on stroke of 15 minutes.

A little less than three minutes after the first goal, Gray again started a goal scoring sequence as she won a solid tackle on Park above the USA's penalty area and the Americans were off on a counter-attack.  The ball bounced to Wozuk, who sidestepped a defender and fed Rapinoe at midfield.  The U.S. forward danced around a defender and released her strike partner Rodriguez on a breakaway.  Putting at least two steps on her defender over the 40 yards, Rodriguez raced in on goal and struck her shot through the legs of the sliding Korea goalkeeper Jun Min Kyung.  It was the first-ever international goal for Rodriguez in her first-ever full international match and first-ever start.

The goal quieted the loud Korean drum section in the stands, and amazingly, the Americans could have easily had four more goals in the half if it wasn't for some great saves by Jun and some sub-par finishing.

Rodriguez almost scored her second goal in as many minutes, blowing away the defense on another breakaway, but as she tried to round Jun, the 'keeper snagged the ball off her foot.

In the 7th minute, the first real quality run of U.S. possession saw Stephanie Logterman put Rapinoe behind the Korean defense with a perfect pass down the right flank. Rapinoe hit an early ball across the penalty area to the crashing Rodriguez, but Jun made a brilliant stave to smother the shot as Rodriquez tumbled over her.

In the 12th minute, Woznuk took advantage of an over-confident Park, stripping her at the top of the penalty area.  Faced with only Jun to beat, her hard shot was palmed over the goal by the Korean 'keeper.

Later in the half, Woznuk raced into the right side of the area on a slithering dribbling run and her cross was almost deflected into the net by the retreating Park.

The USA failed to capitalize on another breakaway in the 30th minute, this one by Rapinoe who raced into the penalty area, but shot wide right as Park ran her down.  The last U.S. chance of the half came in the 38th minute as a great cross from Alexa Orand on the left flank found Rodriguez alone in front of the net, but she lifted her volley high over the goal.

Like the beginning of the match, Korea pressed early in the second half, creating a dangerous chance just two minutes after the break as a cross from the right side flashed in front of the U.S. goal before being cleared by Gray for a corner kick.  The Korean also forced U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to make two saves early in the half, but she handled both easily with dives to her right.

The USA earned another penalty kick in the 52nd minute as Rodriguez once again got behind the defense on the left side of the penalty area and struck a driven cross off the hand of the retreating Park. Orand, the USA's youngest player at 17, stepped up to take the kick, but struck it too close to Jun, who saved it with a dive to her right.

Ten minutes later, Orand sprinted into the left side of the penalty area, cut back and rolled a pass into the path of Woznuk, who hit her shot well, only to see it pushed wide by the sprawling Jun.

Midfielder Jen Redmond came on in the 70th minute and made an immediate impact, winning the ball near midfield before playing Rapinoe through on a breakaway.  Rapinoe shot across 'keeper, but Jun was able to dive low and grab the ball.

USA finally got the clinching score in the 72nd minute and it was a tremendous team goal.  Some nifty passing at the top of the penalty area saw Redmond slip a ball to Rodriguez, who spun around her defender on the left side of the penalty area and exploded toward the near post.  Rodriguez then played a cross on the ground to the far post where the crashing Gray roofed it into the net from five yards out.

The USA failed to convert on two more golden chances, one coming in the 82nd minute as Woznuk split two defenders with a perfect ball to Rodriguez in the right side of the penalty area.  Rodriguez finally beat Jun, but her shot skipped just wide left of the post.  Redmond had a chance in the 86th minute after a great run by Gray down the right flank.  The U.S. midfielder, who gave the Koreans fits with her speed down the wings all night, slid a hard pass across the goalmouth, but Redmond's point-blank shot was cleared off the goal line by a sliding Korean defender.

The Koreans continued to play a deliberate possession style until they went down by three, after which they played more direct and moved Park into the attack, but her solo dribbling runs at the entire U.S. defense proved ineffective as outside backs Stephanie Lopez and Meagan Holmes played stellar matches, in particularly Lopez, who won almost every one-on-one challenge and contributed to the USA's attacking rhythm from left back.

The USA will play its second Group C match against Russia on Sunday, Nov. 14, back at Sarakul Stadium (Kickoff 5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET).  In the other Group C match, Russia upset Spain, 3-1, in an entertaining end-to-end match as Ekaterina Sochneva scored the winning goal directly off a corner kick in the 36th minute.

Match-up:       USA vs. South Korea
Competition:   FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship 2004 - Group C
Venue:            Sarakul Stadium; Phuket, Thailand
Date:               November 11, 2004; Kickoff - 5:00 p.m. local / 5:00 a.m. ET
Attendance:    9,900
Weather:        Breezy, cloudy - 91 degrees

Scoring Summary:
                 1    2      F
USA         2    1      3
KOR        0    0      0

USA - Angie Woznuk (penalty kick)               15th minute.
USA - Amy Rodriguez (Megan Rapinoe)        17.
USA - Sheree Gray (Amy Rodriguez)             72.

USA: 18-Ashlyn Harris; 19-Meagan Holmes, 3-Rachel Buehler, 11-Becky Sauerbrunn, 6-Stephanie Lopez; 5-Sheree Gray (13-Yael Averbuch, 91+), 8-Stephanie Logterman, 10-Angie Woznuk, 12-Alexa Orand (4-Jen Redmond, 70); 7-Megan Rapinoe (9-Kerri Hanks, 85), 16-Amy Rodriguez.
Subs not used: 1-Kelsey Davis, 2-Stephanie Kron, 14-Meghan Schnur, 15-Nikki Krzysik, 17-Jessica Rostedt, 20-Stacy Lindstrom, 21-Laura Comeau.
Head Coach: Mark Krikorian

KOR: 1-Jun Min Kyung; 3-Lee Jin Hwa, 6-Park Mi Jung, 9-Park Eun Sun, 19-Cha Yun Hee; 10-Park Hee Young (4-Lee Ye Eun, 75), 7-Kim Joo Hee, 8-Lee Jang Mi, 16-Song Yu Na (5-Yoon Young Geul, 46); 13-Jung Sey Hwa, 17-Han Song I.
Subs Not Used:
2-We Sung Hee, 21-Kim Ju Ok, 11-Park Eun Jung, 12-Moon Seul A, 14-Ryu Ha Yun, 15-Jung Mi Jung, 18-Pang A Lang, 20-Jeon Jae Min.
Head Coach: Baek Jong Chul

Statistical Summary:   
                                    USA         KOR
Shots:                            15               8
Shots on Goal:               11               4
Saves:                             3                7
Corner Kicks:                 5                5
Fouls:                            17                9
Offside:                           3                1

Misconduct Summary:
USA - Megan Rapinoe (caution)                     35th minute.

Referee:  Antonia Kokotou (Greece)
Asst. Referee: Chrisoula Margariti (Greece)
Asst. Referee:  Anouk De Jong (Netherlands)
4th Official:  Jacqui Melksham (Australia)

FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship 2004 Group Standings
Group A

Team   W   L   T    PTS   GF  GA  GD
GER     1    0   0      3       6      0    +6
CAN    1    0   0      3       2      1    +1
AUS     0    1   0      0       1      2    -1
THA     0    1   0      0       0      6    -6

Nov. 10
Germany 6, Thailand 0
Canada 2, Australia 1

Nov. 13
Germany vs. Australia
Canada vs. Thailand

Nov. 16
Germany vs. Canada
Australia vs. Thailand

Group B
Team    W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA   GD
BRA      1   0    0     3       2       1     +1
CHN     1   0    0     3       1       0     +1
NGA     0   1    0     0       0       1      -1
ITA       0   1    0     0       1       2      -1

Nov. 10
China 1, Nigeria 0
Brazil 2, Italy 1

Nov. 13
China vs. Italy
Brazil vs. Nigeria

Nov. 16
China vs. Brazil
Italy vs. Nigeria

Group C
Team   W   L   T   PTS   GF  GA  GD
USA    1    0    0     3       3      0    +3
RUS    1    0    0     3       3      1    +2
ESP     0    1    0     0       1      3     -2
KOR   0    1    0     0       0      3     -3

Nov. 11
USA 3, South Korea 0
Russia 3, Spain 1

Nov. 14

USA, Russia
Spain vs. South Korea

Nov. 17
USA vs. Spain
Russia vs. South Korea

U.S. Quote Sheet:

U.S. head coach Mark Krikorian on the match:
"After the first five minutes, we did a good job of funneling them on defense and then varying the way we were attacking.  They took a good chance early in the game on a ball that Park Sun competed for in the air.  After that I thought our defending settled down and we were able to limit their chances and developed rhythm when we got the ball.  Overall, I thought our performance was quite good and something to build upon."

Krikorian on the heat, which was 91 degrees at kickoff:

"The heat and humidity here is a little bit more than what we are used to back in the States and the Korean team is a very good team, they are physical and athletic, so they made us press very hard during the course of the game. Fortunately, we were able to hang in there and fight for 90 minutes."

Krikorian on debutante Rodriguez:

"She was very good tonight.  She's physical and athletic and scored a nice goal for us.  She's a hard player for opponents to deal with and I thought she did a very nice job up front."

Krikorian on Angie Woznuk:
"Wozzy was very good today.  She's kind of the engine that makes us go in a lot of different ways.  I thought she had a very strong performance."

Krikorian on the defense:
"Our defense was exceptional.  The concentration and commitment to defend Park was first class and I think she may have been frustrated as the game wore on.  I think Rachel (Buehler) and Becky (Sauerbrunn) and Meagan (Holmes) and (Stephanie) Lopez deserve a lot of credit, plus (defensive midfielder Stephanie) Logterman for dropping in and giving some help as well."

Defender Rachel Buehler on the match:
"I'm very proud of my team.  (Korea) came out intensely the first few minutes, but we held them and didn't let them get too many shots off.  It was very emotional and intense, but we held it together well and defended really well as a team.  We backed each other up when they got a few attacks up the middle."

Buehler on marking 5-foot-10 Park Eun Sun on set plays:
"It's was a challenge, but Megan (Rapinoe) helped me out too so that made it a little bit easier for us to control where she was going, but she can jump, man.  I just kind of had to impede her path, mess her up rather than try to win the header."

Forward Amy Rodriguez on her first international match:
"I can't even believe (the goal) happened.  Our midfielders and forwards worked really well together tonight.  Our midfielders were reading our forwards runs and vice-versa and we were able to get behind them a bunch of times."

Midfielder Angie Woznuk on the match:
"Our team played awesome.  The defense did a great job of stepping up and not letting their forwards hold the ball.  When we took possession, we could have done a little better, but we did well overall.  We did a great job of getting in behind them. We had a lot of breakaways, but their goalie did well.  She saved a lot of good shots."